Moroccan Recipes for Hosting a Party or Special Occasion

Moroccan dinner, including zahlouk (aubergine dip), kesra (bread), kesksou (couscous), lahma meshwi (lamb), olives, mint tea, salade doranges a la marocaine

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Some Moroccan dishes are well-associated with special occasions, celebrations, holiday gatherings and entertaining. These recipes are suggestions of what you might consider when hosting a special Moroccan meal or planning a feast for a large crowd. Many of the dishes can be prepped in advance, making it easy to get food on the table for your big event.

  • 01 of 19

    Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

    Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Moroccan Chicken Bastilla is a savory and sweet chicken, almond and egg pie is a classic choice for special events such as wedding feasts, family celebrations or company dinners. It can be fully prepped in advance and then frozen until baking time. Although it traditionally is presented as a large communal pie, individual-sized bastillas may be made instead.

  • 02 of 19

    Seafood Bastilla

    Moroccan Seafood Bastilla

    Timmey O'Toole / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    This seafood version of bastilla has become immensely popular in recent years, making it another impressive favorite to present for special meals. Shrimp, calamari, fish and a zesty rice vermicelli filling are stuffed within the warqa pastry leaves. Again, it can be fully prepped ahead of time and frozen until needed.

  • 03 of 19

    Mechoui - Roasted Leg of Lamb or Shoulder

    mechoui - roasted lamb

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Mechoui means roasted over a fire, and in Moroccan cuisine, it's become synonymous with roasted lamb. Traditionally this involves a whole lamb, but this home oven recipe calls for leg of lamb or shoulder. The meat is dressed with a Moroccan spice rub and then slow-cooked to buttery tenderness.

  • 04 of 19

    Seffa Medfouna

    Seffa on a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    This sweet and savory dish features saffron-infused chicken (or lamb) hidden within a mound of steamed vermicelli. The classic flavors include ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and fried almonds. Omit the meat to present the vermicelli as an impressive follow-up course to an entree.

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  • 05 of 19

    Moroccan Salad Medley

    Traditional Moroccan Salad Plate

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    An impressive and lovely starter course, four different vegetables are arranged around a mound of rice salad. This photo tutorial links to all the salad recipes, which can be prepped the day before serving.

  • 06 of 19

    Lamb Brochettes

    Moroccan Lamb Brochettes on grill

    Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

    When served to guests or on special occasions, these lamb or fillet beef brochettes are typically presented as one of several entrees. They can be served alone, or for more casual meals, stuffed in wedges of Moroccan khobz with Salade Mechouia as a filler.

  • 07 of 19

    Roasted Chicken With Preserved Lemon and Olives

    Moroccan Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    There are different ways to prepare this popular, classic dish–in a pot, in a tagine, or roasted in the oven as shown here–but this method is the easiest way to feed a crowd. Prep the chickens and cook the sauce the day before, and then roast your chickens in time to serve guests.

  • 08 of 19

    Couscous With Seven Vegetables

    Moroccan Couscous with Vegetables

    Jan Greune / LOOK / Getty Images

    This Casablanca style couscous is a common offering at family and company meals. Couscous is steamed in a couscoussier and then topped with a fabulous meat and vegetable stew. It may seem like a lot of work if you've never made it, but after one or two times it will seem easy to put together even when hosting a special event. Save time by prepping the veggies earlier in the day or the evening before.

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  • 09 of 19

    Couscous Tfaya

    Couscous Tfaya with Chicken

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Another couscous favorite for family meals or when entertaining. Stewed chicken or lamb is served on a bed of couscous, then topped with a sweet and spicy caramelized onion and raisin mixture. Ras el Hanout contributes to the aromatic seasoning.

  • 10 of 19

    Chicken Rfissa

    Moroccan Chicken Rfisa (Rfissa, Rafisa)

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    One of my personal favorites, this dish features very savory and aromatic chicken stewed with lentils, fenugreek, saffron, Ras el Hanout, and other spices. It's served atop a bed of shredded msemen or day old bread. It's generally considered a comfort food that's elegant enough for company, and indeed the dish is one that might traditionally be prepared to honor guests.

  • 11 of 19



    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Although this lamb, raisin, almond and honey dish is traditionally offered in the days following Eid Al-Adha, you'll find it served other times of the year for special occasions or as a family meal. The liberal use of spices, combined with the sweet addition of honey, was essential for preserving ample quantities of the cooked dish in the days before refrigeration.

  • 12 of 19

    Lamb or Beef With Prunes

    Tagine Of Beef and Prunes

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Although very easy to make, this dish features an impressive combination of flavors, making it (and other dried fruit tagines) a popular choice for company dinners and special occasions. The meat is stewed with ginger, saffron, and onions, then topped by prunes which have been simmered in a honey and cinnamon syrup.

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  • 13 of 19

    Chicken With Dates and Honey

    Moroccan Chicken with Dates and Honey

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Similar to the dish above, this one combines chicken and dates. Fried almonds or sesame seeds are used to garnish and provide nutty contrast.

  • 14 of 19

    Lamb Tagine With Dried Apricots

    tagine lamb apricots

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    Apricots are a popular dried fruit in Morocco, and here they're used in a sweet and savory dish flavored with cinnamon, ginger, and saffron. Beef or even chicken can be substituted for the lamb.

  • 15 of 19

    Baked Fish Tagine

    Baked Fish Tagine

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    A classic pairing of chermoula-marinated fish and veggies. The ingredients are layered in a baking dish and then baked in the oven. Try to select a dish that can go from oven to table to make the presentation a breeze. Although Moroccans tend to eat communally from the serving platter, you may prefer to plate portions of this dish for guests.

  • 16 of 19

    Tagine With Peas and Artichokes

    Tagine With Peas and Artichokes

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    If you're looking for a vegetable-based tagine that's sophisticated enough for company, this one is sure to please. Ginger, saffron, and turmeric are key spices. In Morocco, we use fresh peas and fresh artichoke bottoms which we clean and prepare ourselves. Reduce your prep work by buying frozen peas and artichokes at the grocery store.

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  • 17 of 19

    Chicken and Apricot Tagine

    Chicken and Apricot Tagine

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    An elegant sweet and savory dish that's sure to please family and guests alike. It's commonly prepared in a clay tagine for a traditional flavor, but you can also braise slowly in conventional cookware.

  • 18 of 19

    Moroccan Appetizers, Snacks, and Party Food

    Stuffed Puff Pastry Croissants

    The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

    If you want to include a spread of starters for your special occasion meal, this list offers a round-up of recipes that work as appetizers, finger food, and party food. Shown here are Sausage Stuffed Croissants. Many of the items on the list can be made in advance so that your cooking is minimized on the day of your event.

  • 19 of 19

    Fruit Desserts and Other Sweets

    Moroccan Fresh Fruit Salad

    Christine Benlafquih

    Fresh fruit is the typical ending to almost every meal, but for company dinners you might be more inclined to prep the Moroccan Fruit Salad shown here. Afterward, you can offer coffee or Moroccan tea with an assortment of cookies, cakes, and pastries.